xiii SKUNKS 439 claws of the fore-paws. It is IsTorth American, but gets into Mexico. The molar formula is as in the American genera Mephitis and Gonepatiis, arid as in the Old-World Ictonyx, and it thus differs from that of Meles. Besides the great size of the claws upon the hand, which are larger relatively than those of any other Carnivore, the genus Taxidea is to be distinguished from all Arctoids (indeed, from all Garnivora) except Mydcuus, by the fact that the pelvic limb is of the same length as the pectoral. The muzzle is furry except at the very extremity ; this is grooved. The animal is carnivorous, subsisting upon the following very varied kinds of food—" Spermophiles, Arvicolas, birds* eggs, and snails, also honey~comb? wax, and bees." The Skunk, Mephitis, is an American animal with several species, which range from North to Central America. The black- and-white colour distinguishes the genus, which is furthermore marked by the fact that the third digit of the hand is relatively longer than in any other Carnivore except Taxidea. The soles are partly hairy. It is a terrestrial fossorial animal with well-known powers of protecting itself from aggression. But nevertheless the Skunk has its enemie^ and is not quite so unmolested as is some- times popularly supposed. The Puma, Harpy Eagle, and the Great Horned Owl will at least occasionally attack and devour it. The molar formula is Pm 4| M -J-. There are sixteen dorsal vertebrae. Conep&tus is a more southern form of Skunk, extending down into South America. Its dentition is like that of Mephitis save for the loss of an upper premolar. This genus, which has been further subdivided, differs from Mephitis in the fact that the soles of the feet are wholly naked, whereas in Mephitis those of the hind-limbs are partially hairy. It has no groove on the nose. Its tail is shorter than that of Mephitis. This Skunk has the same habits as the last. In certain parts of South America the animals are so abundant and their odour so powerful that in. the evening there is generally- a recognisable smell about. This is said to be good for the headache! Siib-Fam. 3. Lutrinae.—Of this sub-family there are at least two genera. IZnhydris (Latax)? the Sea-Otter, is confined to the shores of the North Pacific. It is more purely aquatic than are 1 Lydekker, " :N"ote on. the Structure and Habits of the Sea-Otter (JSotoa? Zitfris)," Proc. ZooL Soe. 1895, p, 421 j and ibid. 1896, p. 235.